Credit: TheMedGuru

Local fertility groups in Townsville are now seeking help from the US as they are running out of the supply of sperms.

An ampoule of sperms that costs more than $700 is imported from the US by the city's largest fertility clinic, the Queensland Fertility group because of not enough North Queensland men, or even Australian men are kind enough to donate.

In the past, the fertility clinics have relied on university students who were low on cash to offer a sperm donation.

Due to recent changes to the law that requires sperm donors to be contactable once the child they help to conceive turns 18, most men shy away from the responsibility.

Dr Ron Chang, infertility specialist said sperm shortage was critical.

We used to have quite a few Australian donors when they changed the legislation a few years ago, so that progeny and offspring have the right to contact the donor, all the donors stopped coming forward because they didn't want a knock on the door in 18 years time, he said.

Now we have to secure donors from the States.

I think the change in legislation is good, I think children should have the right to know their biological parents but it has a knock-on effect.

That includes the fact that people are not willing to donate whereas before they were, especially sperm donors.

Under the new Australian law, it is illegal for sperm donors to receive payment but costs for travel and parking are reimbursed.

Dr Joanne Lukins, Townsville psychologist said the change in legislation would have a great impact on a man's decision whether or not to donate sperm.

There is a big difference between making an anonymous donation, which doesn't have any carry-on effect, to meeting someone down the track in 18 or so years, she elaborated.

I can't imagine there are too many men doing it for financial gain, it's more of an altruistic offering, with strings attached.

It's a real shame, though, that a wonderful gift that is given to people is diminished because of those legislation changes but I would agree with Dr Chan, that the opportunity for a child to know their father down the track is important.

The downside to that, of course, is that obviously some people won't have the chance to start families and they end up on waiting lists, she said.

Couples in Townsville sometimes waited for years to find the right sperm or egg donor, said Dr Chan.

It's a big step for someone to put their hand up and say we want to donate sperm or eggs, he said.

It's not like donating blood. There is quite a lot of manipulation and counselling that goes along with it and there are a lot of other implications down the track.

It's a very special, emotive and generous gift.